Friday, April 15, 2016

EU to Keep Part of TTIP Trade Deal Papers Under Wraps

Representatives of various anti TTIP protest groups mock the secrecy surrounding negotiations of the trade deal's terms. (Image source)

One of the things about the dodgy trade deal being pushed through between the USA and EU, the Trans Atlantic Trade And Investment Partnership (TTIP) is the secrecy that has surrounded negotiations. Even elected representatives, members of European national assemblies such as the UK Parliament and the German Bundestag have not been allowed to know what is in it.

That alone should tell you beyond reasonable doubt that the so called 'free trade' deal (which is actually very little to do with trade and a lot to do with transferring sovereignty over vital areas of national law and administration from national governments to global corporate businesses) is bad for the people and good for the elites.

Even now as the bureaucratic dictatorship in Brussels and the wretched Obama administration in Washington push to get the deal, nicknamed Obamatrade, completed before the worst American President ever leaves office, the officials in charge of negotiations are reluctant to release details to the public or the media.

The European Commission does not plan unveiling all documents on the EU-US free trade deal, Europe's top trade official said in an op-ed published in a French newspaper on Friday.

The publication in Le Monde comes less than two weeks before the 13th round of EU-US talks on the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) kicks off in New York on April 25.

"Certain documents must stay confidential, either those related to tactical comments directly referencing Europe’s negotiating stance or those citing US documents, which are not for us to publish," EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem said in the article.

The TTIP deal, which aims to deregulate trade US-EU trade, has been criticized for lack of transparency, prompting the Commission to publish some of the TTIP documents.

Malmstroem stressed that TTIP documents in question would be made available to national parliaments of EU member states, offering a degree of openness that had not been there before. Parliaments will also be the last to decide on the trade pact once the Commission is done negotiating it, she added.

European lawmakers have laid down a set of principles they want to be observed during the ongoing talks, including greater transparency, inviolability of social and environmental standards, and respect of EU’s red lines, she continued.

Last year, the secretive deal sparked widespread concern that it would lower environmental, health, safety, and workers’ rights standards in Europe, as well as enable the extra-judicial settlement of disputes in circumvention of national sovereignty.

Here's an extract from Malmstrom's Le Monde article translated into English

By Cecilia Malmström
Like any major initiative, the Transatlantic Partnership on Trade and Investment (TTIP) raises many concerns and hopes, giving rise to a lively debate about its purpose and its methods. One thing is certain: the role of national parliaments in the democratic control of the negotiations will be crucial as people who read the article by sixty [European] parliamentarians published in Le Monde will recall.

This forum demonstrates the commitment of Members of Parliament to exercise fully their role of elected representatives in the democratic control of the negotiations for over two years with the United States. This is not surprising: these negotiations are important for Europe, and also for France, which is a key player in the transatlantic relationship, which has always been about globalization of trade.

These parliamentarians set conditions for successful negotiations which I fully share: transparency at all levels, reciprocity between the parties, intransigence on social and environmental standards, which can be changed only to the highest bidder, respecting our red lines and the refusal of any private arbitration tribunal in favor of a global accountability for investment.

The Commission will not yield anything on defending the European agricultural and food model. Beef hormones or chlorinated chicken remain in the United States. The goal of negotiations is rather to promote our agricultural model, to obtain recognition of controlled appellations and support our exports high value added dairy products, wine and spirits or processed food. Imperative that we get more openness and reciprocity in public procurement and services. These are all vital interests for France and 22,000 companies that export overseas. They will be reflected in the final agreement.

Unfortunately, as you may have guessed, all that is total bollocks. The 'sixty parliamentarians' were all from parties fully committed to the abolishing the sovereignty of Europe's member states and absorbing the whole of the EU plus those Balkan, East European, middle eastern and north African states that figure in the bureaucracy's expansion plans into a single, federal superstate.

That is why we British must vote LEAVE and support popular movements in other states that are calling for IN / OUT votes. The EU is not transparent, not democratic and it is certainly not economically sound.


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